Friday, January 13, 2017

Predicted Ice Probably Rain

It was only two nights ago when Sadie, Stella and I stepped outside for their last trip of the night. It was 65° ... and 1am. Hard to believe.

This morning less than 48 hours later we walked this morning with it being 27° that 'felt like' 21°. The fun doesn't start until tonight.

The weather experts are predicting freezing rain starting tonight with the warning lasting through the weekend. Luckily I have only two things to replenish before the locals buy every loaf of bread on the shelf and every container of milk with the warnings of the earth shattering weather warnings.

The hounds need dog food, I need some sugar for my morning coffee. I should be able to get out and back in a short time before the 'storm hits the fan'. I hope we get as much ice as possible. I want to see what the Mini Countryman does not only going down the hill on the driveway but I plan to take it to a vacant huge parking lot and find out just how it handles in high speed skids on ice. It has AWD, so it might be not as much fun as my old VW buses use to give me. I am hoping to do some 360° spins, out of control for the test.

The picture of Stella above is one of the few today. Her nose overrode her urge to run or even join us on our morning walk. Until she saw Sadie and I on our final turn home, I don't think she moved 20' the whole time Sadie and I were walking.

With the past couple of days with enough rain to cancel a day or two of walks, Sadie was more than excited to finally get outside into the field. I mean how many games of indoor fetch can you play in a day? She just tossed the bone with her mouth, my direction as I am writing this to start a game of indoor fetch.

I was almost sure by this point very early in the walk that Stella had other plans. It was just a hunch. Sadie on the other hand was collecting so many new scents with her nose that needed identifying she was almost beside herself with excitement.

I kept walking while turning around occasionally hoping to catch Sadie or Stella running. I think those are my favorite pictures to take, catching them in action where their excess skin is rolling and their long ears flopping.

This past week I've noticed on the few walks we did take, both hounds seemed to be going deeper into the wooded areas and brush around the field, than they ever have.

Sadie and I are almost to the back edge of the field .. no sign of Stella anywhere, nor did I expect anything different with her today.

Luckily the temps in the 20's made the surface of the field somewhat hard. It was hard enough not to get mud on my shoes and their feet. Yet with some fresh deer hoof prints, you can see just how saturated the field is after multiple days of rain.

Sadie and I were about to the point to make the final turn heading for home. I checked all three areas for Stella but she was nowhere in my range of sight.

No sign of Stella here.

Nor here.

Yet, there was just too much recent deer traffic for Sadie to leave behind while I walked further ahead.

As usual she never wants to get too far behind and will always come running to catch up, without being called. Stella is a different story.

Sadie ran to meet me then did an abrupt left and headed in the direction of the woods, tracking something.

When I yelled "where's Stella" she stopped and pointed her nose in the direction of Stella trying to pick up her scent ... but she could not find her.

Just as we were approaching the corner of the woods, veering left, I wondered if I would see Stella or had she gone too far outside of her boundaries and out of sight. She has never went down into the gully but since I had not seen her during almost all of the walk I thought that might be a possibility today.

I was happy to see her as I made the turn ... even if she had not moved 20' from the spot I saw her last. What could be that interesting to her?

Once she saw Sadie and I, she came trotting toward us. She thought she would just continue the walk that Sadie and I were finishing but too her surprise I told her "you missed the walk, we are going home" ... she turned around immediately and trotted home with Sadie.

Of course it is getting 'close' to her lunch time kibble ... meaning within a 2 hour window ... so maybe that is the real reason she turned around. Recently she has been testing me to see if she can get me to feed her at 10am instead of 11:30am. It's not like she is starving because her breakfast is rarely served before 7:30.

Along with that rain the other night, the winds were strong. It takes a lot of strong wind before the 40+ year old storm windows rattle. When I can hear them, I know the winds are most likely 35mph or higher. With that wind, brings a lot of twigs in the yard and driveway. I hope to get out today before the world ending ice storm and pick up all the limbs and twigs in the yard.

I picked them up on the top of the driveway the morning after a few days ago, since I was heading to the library for another new 'old' book .. The March Of Folly ... and didn't want the car backing out over the twigs.

As you can see, the 'burn pile' for 2017 is progressing quite nicely.

With the wet weather outside this week I have spent very little time on the computer. That saved me some data usage and will keep me well within my 15Gb monthly limit. I've been reading two books. The other is a new book called "Clean House", which is listed on the New York's Best Seller list.

Scanning of the old hound pictures is on hold due to lack of interest. Yet I have gotten a lot of stuff done this week as far as getting some answers from businesses I deal with online. I was also motivated enough last night to do my taxes online. They saved everything but they will not be able to electronically send until January 23rd this year. They are waiting for some new updated state forms from 'the tropics' of Indiana.

In the past I use to use TurboTax. They were great to use when I had not only income from a job but an online business on the side. I had a lot more deductions then and other income to deal with. They made it simple. Like everything else, each year they would charge more.

The past few years after closing the online business, I did not have enough deductions to itemize and the only reason I could not use a 1040EZ form, was because my retirement income is reported on a 1099-R. That put me on a 1040A form and no additional information that a 1040EZ couldn't take care of. Two years ago TurboTax charged me $77 to file federal and state taxes.

I had a 'senior moment' then in 2015 and had forgot the previous two years I had used TaxAct for a fraction of the cost. So in 2016 I remembered to use TaxAct to file taxes but they still charged me close to $30 for something so simple. Sure I could have printed out the forms and mailed them in the old fashion way ... but I want to keep things as simple as possible for the IRS, so electronic filing is my preferred option.

Plus, I get my refund faster where I can turn right around and give a 1/3 of it back to the state of Indiana. I am not a fan of donating to their surplus of funds but they would not hesitate to find me with some hefty penalties if I ignored the amount due.

So this year I had plans to use TaxAct but for the first time that I can remember, my addiction to College Football paid off. It was one of the few commercials that did not spread beautiful food ideas over my large HD TV screen ... it was H&R Block advertising "Free Service", no charges for a person like me, with no itemized deductions but needing to use a 1040A.

I sprinted to my computer room the first chance I had. I jumped online, found their website and confirmed ... unbelievable that I would not be spending a cent to file federal and state taxes this year.

I would not mind paying for the service IF I had itemized deductions but when I have two sources of income, the standard deduction and an exemption for a single filer ... give me a break, I don't  want to pay anything!!!

So all of that is taken care of for this year. Now on to the decision of Medicare. Yes, I hit the magic age of 65 this May. I received my card in the mail yesterday. My junk mail started expanding this past year and helps fill up the recycling bin, with hearing aids, gap insurance, AARP, death benefits, blah blah blah.

I have to decide if I really want to pay for Part B after a lifetime of being healthy. I have never had a 'family doctor'. I am thinking of taking their free Part A and combining that with VA Health Care that is available to me.

I'm a cheapskate when it comes to spending money on stuff I don't use. I still complain about home insurance that I pay for. Now car insurance I can agree with after my no-fault car wreck in 2010 that totaled my car ... and with all of the drivers coming toward me with their heads bowed while they text away at 60mph. I assume they are not praying with their heads bowed while driving. Insurance is a good thing in the world of automobiles and idiot drivers.

Well I feel the house getting colder, Stella has moved her position and begging process, from sitting at the entry of the room staring at me to let me know it's time for lunch ... to setting right next to my computer desk chair, nudging my right elbow with her nose. If I don't post this blog soon she will start her final stage of begging ... which means bloodhound howling.

The ice storm is on the way here in 'the tropics' of southern Indiana.


  1. Icemageddon has not arrived here YET, and I hope the weather guessers are over exaggerating on this one!

    If you get all the ice you are hoping for, I wish I could be there with my camera to take pictures AND videos of you doing those 360s in your Countryman. LOL

    1. The 'ice' is behind schedule as we speak on early Friday night. It's still 40° and raining. I did hear on one of my sports talk shows today they were predicting the KC - Pittsburg game to be a severe weather condition "but they will still have 70,000 faithful Chief fans in attendance".

      If you go to Google Images and do a search for "Mini Countryman in the winter" ... you can see some pretty interesting pictures of it in action.

  2. I've seen your driveway! If I was going down that thing with a coating of ice on it I'd need a couple spotters at the bottom to make sure the highway was clear because I'm liable to shoot down the driveway and clear across the road faster than Ex-lax through a drunk and with just about as much control!!

    1. All the hounds refused to be spotters. Luckily the ice storm never arrived. I have gone down that driveway where it had a clear coating of ice but was able to get stopped at the bottom while I 'crawled' down the driveway in low gear.

  3. Just checking in to say, “ Haven’t ‘seen’ any rambling for a while.”

    Hope all is well with you and the hounds!